Skip to main content

Full text of "Rapid Population Growth Consequences And Policy Implications"

See other formats

The community in which a man is raised, just as the race or ethnic group into which he is born, defines an ascriptive base that limits his adult occupational chances. Migration, however, partly removes these ascribed restrictions on achievement by enabling a man to take advantage of opportunities not available in his original community . . . selective migration strengthens the operation of universalistic criteria of achievement and the trend toward increasing selectivity in migration manifests an extension of universalism in our occupational structure (43, p. 275).
Migration also has several desirable implications from the standpoint of the large city. There is positive selectivity, overall, and in particular there is the stream of career migrants from other cities whose importance far exceeds the numbers involved. They are the ambitious ones, anxious to mount and ascend the ladder of success.
Even the migrants from rural areas may contribute more than is generally attributed to them, notwithstanding their limited education and low-level skills. Although the empirical support for it is extremely limited, I am inclined to put a good deal of emphasis upon the risk-taking propensity. Surely the larger cities benefit from the relocation of venturesome and ambitious people.
But at this point critics of cityward migration can be expected to make a vigorous dissent. They will charge that the whole argument is tied to a gigantic if. Migrant selectivity can benefit the receiving community only if the energies and dedication that migrants bring to the city can be properly put to work. But is there work? Or more precisely, in view of the substantial underemployment to be found in developing countries, is there work worthy of them? Although data are surprisingly limited on this point, there doubtless are many situations, probably the great majority, where the employment absorptive capacities of large cities are not in line with the volume of in-migration. This is indeed a critical point. Perhaps the frequent reference to Monterrey has served to mislead, because this city has had exceptional economic growth (it is the iron and steel center of Mexico and ranks second only to Mexico City in industrial output) over the last 30 years.
But even if the point be granted, this still does not lead us to conclude that rural-urban migration or even that small-to-large-urban migration should be limited in every possible way. In developing countries inadequate work opportunities pervade the entire social structure-rural and urban alike. It is a societal problem, not restricted to one sector. It can be argued that even if employment opportunities in large cities are not as great as they should be, they still are demonstrably superior to those in the rural or small urban communities of origin. And, importantly, educational facilities are much better. Although the migrant himself may not benefit from them, his children can.ocieties.iterature. A number of social scientists have seen the migration process through a glass all-too-darkly. I have tried to explain the group who must make the (rreatest adjustment in stvlp. of livino nnH tVip.rpfnrp nrp nrp«nmali1\/ m^et inhe predominantly male rural-urban migration, in the multilingual character of the society, in the existence of polygamy, and